At all times in life good and bad, find something to hold on to. Sometimes the only solution to a problem is time. Don't waste your day stressing out about something you are unable to fix at the moment. Categorize, and start the checklist of things you can knock out one at a time instead of worrying about things you want to do but can't at the moment.
Always ask yourself am I maximizing my time? There are always going to be caveats like self care and sleep yes. However, there is a fine line between self care and laziness. Because of the position I'm in, I have to make sure I am maximizing my time for my kids, girlfriend, family, and Warriors Next Adventure. I can't always accomplish everything I need to in a day because I bite off more than I can chew at times. I'm ok with that. Im aware not everyone is like me but I have what I like to call idle hand syndrome. If I am not doing something productive, I feel depressed or lazy. I do catch myself some times in that mindset, however it doesn't last long. My self care time is creating something. I've learned that one of my favorite things to create is #wnapodcast. I love the conversations I get to have with amazing people like Jeremy Scharlow, TJ Kreutzer, Mark Mortensen, Guff McGuffey to name a few. (Yes I love all my other guests too but I've done like 20 episodes). Those heartfelt deep conversations about life are my sweet spot. I also built a woodshop in my garage so now I can build things like the Vegvísir plaques, garden beds and more. On top of all that I love lifting weights and training jiu-jitsu. One thing I don't lack, is hobbies.
If you properly manage your time, you can be unstoppable. Find out how you can turn something you love into a profession. I love hiking, rock climbing, mountain climbing and deep conversations that help people improve their lives. So I started a non-profit to help end veteran suicide by doing these things that I love and taking veterans with me. I have had some of the best conversations in my life over the past year and a half on top of mountains, in the woods, on the lake and more. I took what I loved and I made it valuable to other people. Now hundreds of veterans a year can hold on to one more thing.
I recently had a veteran tell me how much he was looking forward to our Mt.Elbert climb June 27th 2020 that it consumed him. It gave him something to look forward to. Because of my time management with WNA, I gave a veteran something to hold on to and that brings tears to my eyes every time. I turned something I love into hope for others and you can too.
I took some time to meditate tonight. No particular thought in my head to begin; But I then started to think about some of the things that tend to haunt me from my past. Thinking back "If I would have gotten there just a few seconds earlier, he would still be alive", "If we would have patrolled that area better, the kiowa wouldn't have been shot down right after we left Afghanistan", "why didn't the gun go off when choose to give up"
The alternate world we develop in our heads when we play the could've, would've, should haves of our life time can sometimes drive us to madness. It creates alternate paths we could have taken but often are no longer allowed access to. Which can lead to depression, anxiety disorder, PTSD and in the extreme cases, suicide.
Suppressed memories and underlying issues can be crippling to some. When we were in the military, burying your issues was the only way to move on. One of the main issues in the Air Force Security Forces (defenders) world is the stigma of mental illness. When I was active duty 2006-2012, if you admitted you were struggling, you were forced to go to mental health, stripped of your weapon, and usually put on some bullshit trash detail. Until you were cleared to go. Often leaving defenders feeling like they have the scarlet letter stamped on their face. Feeling like an outcast and ashamed for getting help.
A normal thinking brain would say, "so what, go get help and who cares what people think" let me break this down for you barney style.
I only worked a total of 1.5 years at my home station as Security Forces (base cop) that means I spent over 2 years deployed, 6 months as a pre deployment trainer, and the rest was training to go to war. You are constantly in the fight or flight mode and a lot of us lose the ability to turn it off. If I were to say anything about how I felt, I wouldn't have been able to deploy so much. To me, at the time, deploying to protect my brothers was everything.
One thing that needs to change in the Air Force is the alienation of people that go get help at mental health. There should be no penalty for defenders and other military folks to admit they are carrying too much weight on their shoulders.
THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH GETTING HELP! YOU ARE NOT WEAK FOR SEEKING HELP! YOU ARE STRONG FOR LOOKING OUT FOR #1!
One bit of advice is not to bury your traumas. Become vulnerable to those you can trust And share what you are going through. Reach out to your brothers and sisters. Hell if you have no one to talk to...contact me on all social media any time of day.
I'm not a councilor, I'm a friend!
When I was “deployed” to Qatar in 2007, we had a lot of free time on our hands. I was a young kid at 19 years old far away from home. Qatar is a country on the south east tip of Saudi Arabia and it is a pretty laid back place to be stationed. At that point in my life I was somewhat of an emotional turd. My childhood was filled with traumas and I was feeling very lonely at the time. I didn't have many friends and I felt like a loner at times. After a few months on that deployment Sgt Thomas came up to me and told me I wasn't allowed to sit in my room anymore. I could tell they all thought i was depressed. I was pretty socially awkward as I had been since I was a kid.
On post one day I talked to an army Sgt Kramer and we got to talking about martial arts. He was a purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu and I believe he was a lvl 4 modern army combatives instructor as well. He convinced me to give Jiu-Jitsu a chance. We found a spot and got some of the 1” blue pads and pushed them together. I figured, Sgt K was much smaller than i was and it would be a piece of cake. I’d have him tapping in no time. A few moments later i was waking up with Sgt K holding my feet up in the air. “What the hell just happened” I asked in confusion. Sgt K just laughed and said “That there is a rear naked choke, and you need to tap before you go to sleep”
About 3 times a week we would get together and work techniques and drill. I learned how to do multiple submissions and how to get into better positioning. Every single day I would get submitted over and over and over again. It was driving me nuts knowing that he knew everything I was trying to do. Every few weeks we would get another training partner and we eventually got around 8 people that would train regularly. I started to feel less socially awkward, I had less anxiety, and I started to feel a confidence I never had before.
I go back to the states from Qatar in November but was already on my way to Iraq by the end of February 2008. When we got into country the first thing I did was go around and try to find a place to train and search out training partners. Luckily, my friend Tommy was also a heavy gunner on my squad and he wanted to train Jiu-jitsu as well. In the small gym that we had we found a small set of mats and we would train a few times a week. In a world of constant anxiety being the lead gunner on a route clearance team searching for IED’s every day, I found peace and calmness through Jiu-jitsu.
Over time more and more people would train with us. I was blessed with a visit from the UFC USO tour when Joe Lauzon, Heath Herring, and Jorge Rivera. I rolled with Joe for about 15 minutes and got submitted about 20 times. It was a lot of fun and I feel like I gained a lot of experience just from talking to him and Jorge. It is definitely one of my favorite moments in my Jiu-jitsu journey.
When I returned to North Carolina in the fall of 2008, I decided to start training at a gym. I kept finding family through Jiu-Jitsu. I also started to realize my calm demeanor was due to training Jiu-Jitsu and was helping me in my social life as well. I started to make more friends with everyone in my squadron and started to realize that I didn't need to be on the defensive all the time. Unfortunately, when you are abused as a child you tend to have issues interacting with other people in your adult life. I found Jiu-Jitsu gave me courage, motivation to improve, and it calmed my anxiety to a level I have never experienced.
I drove up to try a Jiu-Jitsu tournament up in Virginia with my dad. I will never forget I won my very first Jiu-Jitsu match via armbar and it lit a fire in my heart that I had not experienced since my first goal in hockey. I lost my next match and was out of the tournament. Before we left the gym i had already signed up for the NAGA (North American Grappling Association) tournament a few weeks later. I drove up with my friend Larry and Hanna who were always extremely supportive of my Jiu-Jitsu adventure. I had 4 matches, the first 3 won via armbar and the last won by points. I had done something i thought was impossible a few months before. I won a NAGA samurai sword!
Eventually I was talked out of training any further because of the time it took away from my home life. I'm not going to get into that but I will say, NEVER quit your dreams for someone else. Do what makes you happy and those who love you will follow.
In 2014 I had been out of the military for about 2 years. I hated my life, me and my now ex wife hated each other, I was out of shape and fat at 210 lbs, and unfortunately I considered myself an alcoholic. PTSD had its grips on me and I was drinking massive amounts of alcohol, sneaking around to go to the bar and hiding it from everyone to try to escape. My friend Paul had asked if i wanted to check out this new gym up in Blaine, Minnesota. I went with to Tracks BJJ and met with Mark Mortensen. I found out Mark himself was an Air Force veteran. I did the typical “I trained and did a fight and bla bla bla”. No one cares just train. The first class I met a few of the regulars and I was instantly accepted into the gym. I was instantly hooked and decided I needed to train again.
After a failed suicide attempt (6 principles to excel your state of mind) I decided to go all in. When I say Jiu-Jitsu turned my life around, I absolutely attribute who I am as a person today to my decision to train Jiu-Jitsu. My coach and teammates treated me like family and made me feel like I was worth something again. Jiu-Jitsu was the first place I felt a sense of comradery and brotherhood that I had felt in the military. We would hang out after practice and talk about life or nonsense depending on the atmosphere. We trained together, fought together, and supported each other at competitions. We always went out for a beer after the tournaments and celebrated life events with each other.
Quite possibly my favorite group of training partners above. 5 of us are veterans.
I was noticing my drinking was affecting my performance and I found myself drinking less. The urge to drink was slowly drifting away. Jiu-Jitsu becomes a lifestyle after time if you train enough. I started eating healthier and realizing my body is a machine and I needed to make sure the right fuel was going in. I started to study nutrition and trying to optimize my diet so I could roll longer and compete at a higher level. Within 6 months of training, I received my blue belt from my coach and mentor Mark Mortensen. I had fought in an mma fight back in the fall of 2009 and decided I wanted to go for it again. I decided I wanted be a Jiu-Jitsu fighter and I wanted to win all of my fights with Jiu-Jitsu dominating the fight. I ended up going 3-0 and got a title shot that I ultimately lost to quite possibly one of the best armature welterweights in the nation. I achieved a goal I thought was impossible by fighting for a title with Jiu-Jitsu as my fighting style.
August 27th 2016. My opponent Yamah Sadozai and I, beat the snot out of each other for 3 rounds earning us fight of the night. I was victorious using Jiu-Jitsu and landing a rear naked choke in the beginning of the 3rd round.
I think about it like this. I was depressed, hiding my drinking, out of shape and feeling sorry for myself. Through Jiu-Jitsu I found out how to be a good man again. Nothing is more humbling than another man grabbing our neck and strangling you until you tap and you are proud for your partner. You shake hands after trying to manhandle each other, high five when you get caught by a move that was just taught. The feeling of pride when your teammate wins a tournament or a difficult match is hard to compare to. I learned how to care about others again as well as care about myself. My anxiety was practically gone and I no longer have that urge to constantly drink. I feel like Jiu-Jitsu has played a major role in my development in this crazy world and it has given me a new angle to view life. Ever since i started training Jiu-Jitsu in 2007, I have trained off and on. For some reason it keeps calling me back and I learn something about myself every time i am on the mats
PTSD can be crippling and for the first time in a long time I feel like I am in control again thanks to Jiu-Jitsu.
Anyone can change! All it takes is some motivation and something to fight for.
thanks for reading!
leave a message in the comment section and tell us how Jiu-Jitsu helped you.
Sometimes we feel like we are falling into a bottomless pit and life keeps kicking us while we're down. Sometimes these moments leave us feeling hopeless and often times taking your life feels like the only option. I have had a lot of traumas in my life that pop up in my head often. You have to find a way to take away any power these traumas might have had.
Throughout life I have had an abusive step dad who use to kick the shit out of my mom. Eventually it moved on to me with severe verbal abuse to him pinning me down and telling me I was a worthless faggot who should have been aborted. He once grabbed my hair and threw me and I fell down the stairs.
Until this day I still don't know what happened that day of the snowmobile accident. I was sitting in my room playing NFL Blitz on N64 when he walked into the house dragging his leg. “Your mom is dead” he said as he went over to the cabinet and took out a bottle of Captain Morgan. I ran out to the lake and there my mom laid in a pool of her own blood. They had been drinking and crashed the snowmobile into the bank on the side of the lake. I took off her helmet and put her head in my lap. I was covered in blood and she stopped breathing a few times. I ran inside the house and grabbed a blanket. My step dad told me not to call 911. I said fuck that and ran downstairs and grabbed the phone and called anyway. She died in the ambulance and 3 times on the operating table that night but was brought back.
She was in a body cast for months and I had to learn how to cook, help her to the bathroom and help her get dressed. One day, the summer before 7th grade she dropped me off at my dads house and she left. I didn't see her for almost 3 years. Great...lifetime of abandonment issues here we go. She has been in and out of my life but I cut her out finally. When I was going through my divorce In 2015 she posted on Facebook calling me a pig and saying I was a shitty father for trying to improve my life. There were times she told people she wished I would drive off a cliff or kill myself. There comes a time where you have to understand blood doesn't make someone family.
I deployed 4 times while in the Air Force to Qatar, Camp Bucca Iraq, Balad Airfield Iraq, and Bagram Airfield Afghanistan. I was a .50 cal gunner in Iraq and Afghanistan on convoys/route clearance/QRF… we got mortared daily in Iraq, often in Afghanistan and had many people that died while we were there. Luckily I never lost anyone in any of my units while we were there. When I got out, there was nothing but horrible feelings. Survivors guilt, feeling like a pussy because I couldn't handle deploying anymore, the anger of betrayal because multiple “Jody’s” came around when I thought they were my friends when I was deployed. I had enough.
When I was going through my divorce in 2015 I felt a sense of failure, anger, sadness all the bad thoughts someone has when the are walking on the edge of suicide. I failed my marriage, I felt like I abandoned my brothers by leaving the military.
I decided to go on a trip to the boundary waters in northern Minnesota. It was supposed to be my last week in this world I felt hated me. I kayaked 14 miles up to basswood falls, in the middle of nowhere I spent 5 days thinking. I went fishing for my food, I went swimming, kayaking, howled at the moon. I was free. On that last day I decided my life had come to an end. I knew I had kids and people who cared about me but I could not fight the demons anymore. I took my Springfield Xdm 9mm and held the gun up to my head. An eagle was circling the lake and dove in for a fish. I saw a deer drinking water off in the distance. Bass were jumping out of the water. It was a peaceful ending to a difficult life.
I pulled the trigger.
“CLICK” the firing pin slammed into the primer...nothing. I loaded my own ammo. 1000’s of rounds were made by my hands. Never have any of my rounds misfired or malfunctioned. I dropped the magazine, pulled the slide back and examined the bullet that was in the chamber. The 9mm round had a firing pin dent in the primer. It was a dud.
I stared at that bullet for what seemed to be hours. I put the magazine back in the chamber and fired off the 19 rounds I had left. I was still here for a reason and I set out on a quest the next few years to find out what my purpose was. I started fighting mma again, practicing Buddhism and meditating on the regular. I started to learn about the philosophy of happiness and positivity. I started to go hiking and spending more time outside exploring and started researching recreational therapy. I continue to have my ups and downs but when I am feeling down I remember these principles I came up with.
1. Look at who you have around you!
Who are the shooting stars and who are the black clouds. Some people need to be cut out. Those energy vampires and people who feed on your sadness will make you feel like you are worthless need to go. There are those rare shooting stars out there that light up even the darkest skies. Keep those shooting stars close and make them the company you choose. They will build you up, support you, and give you some positivity when you need it most. But you have to accept their help.
2. Look at what you have!
I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, a reliable car, I have the ability to work in many different career fields. Most of us are blind to what we have right in front of us. We want more more more when all we need is sitting in your house or apartment. Americans tend to be extremely materialistic and they fail to see that “items” will not bring you the happiness you need. Be happy for what you have.
3. Accept your past!
Look back at your past failures and accept the fact that there is nothing you can do about your past. Our failures do not define us...our actions now and tomorrow do. Anyone can change and become a better person if you forgive the past and accept the decisions you have made.
4. Is there anything you can do about your current situation right now?
We stress and dwell on things that we can not change or can not fix. Time heals all wounds and some things take time to fix. If you can not stand up and walk out the door to fix your current situation...breath. Take out a piece of paper and write down all of the things you need to do or fix. Prioritize your list and see what you can do right now. Sometimes all you need is a little order. Relax, stay calm, and take charge of your situation. Don't let it take charge of you.
5. Look forward to a positive future!
Positive thoughts breed positive results. Project what you want and present your goals to the universe and work for it. When I was a kid I loved Jim Carrey. When he was a struggling actor, he wrote himself a check for 1M dollars and said he is going to cash that check one day. When he was paid for “Dumb and Dumber”, he received a check for 1M dollars. Those who say they can and those who say they cant, are usually right.
6. Love yourself!
You can always do better if you stop hating yourself and start loving yourself. The shitty things you did in your past do not define who you are. You are not the same person as you were yesterday. Choose to grow. Choose to learn. Choose to help one another.
Be the change you want to see in the world - Gandhi
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The last picture of my past life.
Basswood falls MN July 2015
I was 18 years old and this was the last day of my adolescent life. I wake up and give my little sister, and girlfriend a hug. My step Mom dropped me off at the recruiters office in Fridley, MN so I could drive to MEPS in Fargo, ND. Ssgt Klukus is there waiting for me as I gave my mom a hug for the last time. I was shitting my pants thinking “why am I doing this”? “What the fuck did I just do”? “I can still turn back”. Then I thought about some of the people I know and how they are going nowhere. I wanted adventure, I wanted to be a part of something, I wanted a purpose in life. I get in the car and lean forward so I could see my mom and wave goodbye. She was waving and I could see tears in her eyes as we pulled away. I was terrified.
It was a long drive to Alexandria Minnesota. We drove out there to picked up more people that were on their way to MEPS as well. I get out and sit in the lobby of a hotel waiting for the other new trainees. I remember watching a family sitting down at a diner connected to the front lobby thinking about how I will no longer have my family to lean on. I felt alone in a crowded lobby. About 20 minutes go by and the rest the trainees show up in a 12 passenger van. I hop into the van filled with 18 and 19 year old boys and girls. Not one word was said on the drive from Alexandria to Fargo. When we rolled into Fargo, it was foggy, and dull. Nothing more depressing the foggy and wet weather when you are already feeling alone. MEPS is the long drawn out medical screening you go through before Basic training that takes a whole day. You go in with a bunch of other folks and stand there in your underwear. You do the crab walk, bear crawl, lunges to make sure your joints are ok. The worst part is when you go in the the back office and the old guy tugs at your balls and poke your butthole. At least I hope everyone else had their butthole poked...felt kind of awkward, the Dr. was a creepy old guy. Then after this crazy underwear olympics you go into a separate room where everyone is sworn in. Your last chance to run.
I remember sitting in the room talking to Red after we got done with MEPS on the 14th. Red was about 6’2’’ with blaze orange hair and eyebrows with a crooked smile. He was a little larger, about 225 lbs of well...not muscle. He was pounding a gallon water jug and taking a bunch of niacin and I asked him why. “Bro I smoked a shitload of weed and I want to make sure I pass the drug test in basic”. He did end up passing. We went and met up with the rest of the group that was in MEPS together for dinner at the shitty restaurant attached to the motel. We all did a toast (with water because we were all 18 and 19) and stayed there until about 9 or 10. There was an eerie silence at the table at the end of the night. There was a tv on and we all just sat there together in silence watching a news story about Iraq. One by one, someone would leave and go back to their room until it was just me and Red. We didn't want to sleep because early the next morning, reality was about to kick us in the face.
The next day we all load up on a bus to head to the airport. There was a mix of men and women on the bus and we were all headed to San Antonio, Texas. Lackland Air Force Base is the only place where the Air Force has basic training. The Army that has a few locations, Marines have 2, and who cares about the Navy, they are all just splashing around in a pool somewhere. I remember the flight being long and wishing it would never end. Once we got off of the flight they brought us to the San Antonio airport USO. It was quiet filled with people watching tv, talking on their phones, and sitting in recliners. You could cut the tension in that room with a spoon. The looks on some of the faces in there were straight fear. One girl looked like she was about to throw up, there was one kid in the corner rocking back and forth, people chewing on fingernails, restless leg syndrome all over the room. I remember sitting there staring out of the window when I sat down at a table with Red. I felt massive amounts of pressure in my chest, my stomach was churning. I was profusely sweating while I kept replaying the basic training scenes from “Full Metal Jacket”. I look off into the distance and I see a yellow school bus driving towards us. A very large guy, about 6’4’’ absolutely jacked, gets out of the bus wearing the smokey the bear hat and BDU uniform. I felt like a frog just jumped out of my throat and the room was dead silent. He walks in and yells “EVERYONE ON THE BUS, NOW”! I felt as though I was being kidnaped. We pile on the bus back to front squished in like sardines in a can. It was about a 30 minute bus ride to the 321st basic training squadron. The terrifying site of 6 drill instructors standing there, arms crossed, uniforms perfectly pressed, smokey the bear hats tilted forward so you could barely see the scowl on their faces, had all of us shitting our pants. My life was about to change, and I would never be the same.
Tell us what you felt on you way to basic in the comments below!
Thanks for reading.
The last picture of me as child with my mom.
As I walk into my 8th grade classroom September 11th, 2001 the tv is on and everyone is quiey. All I saw was a building on fire when I sat down at my desk. Seconds after I walked into the classroom we see the second plane fly into the 2nd Trade Centre Tower. The day they said we should never forget seems to have been forgotten these days, but that is a subject for a different time. I still remember feeling scared, sad, angry, and confused. I was 13 years old when I first had the feeling of rage towards another group of people. I’m not going to get into conspiracies or what I think truly happened that day but all I know is a lot of our people died and I was pissed. I struggled to find out why someone would hurt innocent people. Most of you that know me, know I would never be the bully and I was always the one sticking up for the little guy. Accept for one instance in 7th grade. For some reason I would fuck with this one kid and say his name really loud. We did it quite often and for some reason I didn’t like the kid and we harassed him. Sounds stupid but I think it made him feel out of place and probably caused him some pain and I obviously still think about it. If you ever see this, sorry Andrew G. I was never perfect and full of flaws and I always tried to uphold my fathers rule of stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves. I wanted to help all of those people in New York but I had no clue how.
October 7th, 2001 the video heard around the world. America was pissed and this is how we fight back. George W. Bush announce were we starting military action against the terrorist group Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan thought to be the ones who planned the devastating attack on the World Trade towers on September 11th. After seeing all the Army guys, tanks, Navy ships, Air force jets dropping bombs, and Marines about to put boots on ground in Afghanistan; I thought, this is how I help those families who lost their loved ones in those towers. I found out they don’t let 13 year olds join the military for some reason. As the years went on the thought of joining the military was always there. My Grandpa George (Joe) was an ex Navy technician on a carrier in the Korean war. I sat down and talk to him about it not long ago. Grandpa doesn’t talk too much but he is always smiling. My father Brian was a Marine, and he would tell everyone he is, like most Marines do. Oorah boys, y’all are retarded but I still love you. Who else better to scare the shit out of the enemy than a shit load of Marines ready to kill and destroy anything in their path. In my head I was thinking Marines but my dad would always sway me towards something else.
I met my Step mom and surrogate mother when I was too young to remember. I can’t say enough great things about her and she is a huge factor into the morals I have today. She had a long time friend who was in the Air Force and I believe around the age of 16 we had a long conversation. My dad kept pitching the Air Force saying “Your Uncle Dave was in the Air Force and retired, now he works for the post office”. I looked into it but my life goal was always to be a cop. I wanted to join the military but I still wanted to fulfill my dream of being a cop. My Uncle Dave was Air Force Security Forces for the beginning of his career them switched to be a recruiter. I decided to go check out a recruitment office. I walked into the crossroads mall in Roseville, Minnesota and found the recruitment centre. Army, Navy, Marines...no Air Force. I decided to talk to the Army Recruiter and talked to him about all the cool shit I could do. I told him i wanted to be a cop, but I wanted to jump out of planes and be a sniper. What I know now is this guy looked at me like I was a moron and probably wanted to throat chop me right there. We talked for a while and tried to get me to sign up for some stupid PT program. Yea right, a 17 year old, do pushups and run, at what time? HELL NO, I’d rather chase girls, drink and smoke weed.
Yes I was a sinner, I drank way to much before I joined and I did a lot of stupid shit. There were nights we went out drinking and polished off a handle of Captain Morgan at the age of 16 between just 2 or 3 of us. We would drink at school occasionally and put UV blue inside our gatorade bottles. Most nights it was just me and my friend stealing his parents booze and sneaking off to the infamous THE HILL. A place were we hung out, drank, smoked weed and listened to country music on the hood of my buddy's super cool Saturn. That place meant a lot to the self proclaimed Lauderdale gang (shout out to the homies). The drinking just kept getting worse between all of us and I started to worry what the fuck was going to happen to me if I kept going that route. I needed to get out, even though I didn't want to abandon my best friend. I knew he would always be there for me, and he always was and still is. Love you buddy.
I graduated high school June of 2006. I had a job at Burlington Coat Factory in the baby depot and I was fucking miserable. I had to build model cribs and strollers, help pregnant ladies find shit for their newborns. They made me sort fucking baby clothes when I didn't have anything else to do. I use to stack crib boxes in the storage area into a fort so I could climb back there and sleep because I hated my job so much. I remember the day I knew I was destined for more. I was talking to my department manager and she asked me what i'm going to do now that I graduated high school. I just stared at her and said “I don’t know, work here full time”? She laughed and said “honey, think about it, you will be here every day standing around helping pissed off pregnant ladies because they cant find something. You will have to clean and rearrange baby clothes, move boxes, build cribs and for a whopping $7 per hour”? “You think you will be happy with that”? I clocked out and quit on the spot. That is after buying my leather jacket I had always wanted to buy and my parents would buy for me. I hid it in the back the first day I got there because it was the last one like it. To be totally honest, that jacked was the only reason why I started working there in the first place.
I finally found out where the Air Force Recruitment centre was in Fridley Minnesota. Wearing my new leather jacket, I walked in and met with SSgt Klukus I believe her name was. I told her I want to be security forces and she pretty much shook my hand and said “Congratulations, that shouldn't be a problem”! Not knowing I was about to get shit on for the next 6 years. For those who don’t know, Security forces is like the red headed step child of the Air Force. No one likes because we are Air Force, and no one likes us in the Air Force because we are cops. We get the shittiest living conditions in the Air Force, usually shit food, and shittiest rules. We were a mixture of cops, security, and “infantry” to make it easier to explain to the normies reading this. Yes Army and Marines, we were not actually infantry but we did a lot of route clearance, QRF, ASO, and convoys. Google those terms if you don't know what they are. June 18th I signed the dotted line and I was ready for my next big adventure.
Now there are plenty of reasons why people join the military. For me it was a mix of family tradition, fear of being a nobody, fast track to becoming a cop, did not want to go to college. However, I can honestly say, seeing all of those people die on 9/11 lit a fire that has never stopped burning until this day. Every day I was in the military I had the best reason to go to war...my brothers and sisters beside me on the front line. There will never be a bond stronger than someone you fought beside. Many people don’t have a reason why they join but I bet that brotherhood was something that gave it some meaning.
I would never change one piece of my past and I would sign that dotted line time and time again. No one can take away the honor I had to serve next to America's finest.
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